What is Love? It’s defined as an intense feeling of affection; a romantic and intimate attraction to another.

How does love feel?  Sure, it is the butterfly feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see him or her.  It’s the jolt of electricity when your hands touch.  It can be the dizzying feeling when your lips meet in the most passionate of kisses or the gentle comfort of a welcoming hug.

Those are all wonderful, but what about the tough stuff?

Will love remain when someone falters and makes bad choices?  Will it be there when someone is hurt (physically or emotionally)?  Is it there in one’s weakest or most vulnerable moments, when they feel unlovable?  Will it be there for those with different beliefs, circumstances, or lifestyle choices?  Can it be present if I say it but a person can’t say it in return?

Love, whether it be for a friend, a spouse, a family member or a lover, has to be unconditional.  When you tell someone you love them, you don’t get to choose when and how you love them, you just do.  If you have this deep feeling for someone, find your brave and tell them, but do so without expectation of them saying it back to you.  Love isn’t always reciprocal and that’s okay; we should love anyway.

Once you commit to telling them, follow through in action.  Love can be shown in a million ways that doesn’t always require saying “those” three words.  It can be shown in a good morning or goodnight text or a post-it note in their lunch.  It can be in a greeting card or a handwritten letter. It can be in a quick call to say hello, thank you, thinking of you, did you get home safely or letting them know they are in your prayers.

Love can be shown just by sitting with someone in silence during their darkest moment.  It can be staying up all night listening as they cry and hugging it out when needed.  It can be shaking someone up and calling them on their bullshit.  It is showing forgiveness, empathy, hope, grace and mercy.  It is loving them even if you don’t particularly like them in the moment. It’s learning who they are and accepting the battle scars of their checkered pasts, understanding the deepest, darkest corners of their beings and choosing to love them anyway.

Love is not all romance, hearts and roses.  Love can be raw, gritty, dirty, messy, difficult and challenging.  I want this kind of love. The kind where there is a deep connection, where there is honest and open communication about everything, where the masks come off, where we get in the ring and fight for each other,  where we can lose our fears together and let our vulnerable, authentic souls shine.  As we grow, we find we can share this love more readily in a world that makes it oh so difficult at times.

If I had to describe love in a sentence, I would say, “It’s a feeling of comfort and peace working in conjunction with passion and chaos to create the best possible space in which to reside.”

If I had to pick one word to describe it, I would choose HOME.  Not necessarily the four walls where I lay my head at night (although that is part of it), but any place where I am safe to be my true self.

How would you describe love?

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